CFP: Essays for The Scandinavian Invasion

This just came across the radar and may be of interest to the academically inclined. Oh, and we’re talking Nordic crime fiction, not Vikings.

The Scandinavian Invasion: Perspectives on the Nordic Noir Phenomenon
Edited by William Proctor

The crime genre has a long-established history in the Scandinavian countries: from the ten-part series of novels by Sjöwall and Wahlööfeaturing Inspector Martin Beck to Henning Mankell’s critique of Swedish society through the lens of the Kurt Wallander novels. Since the publication of Stieg Larsson’s The Millennium Trilogy in 2005 featuring anti-heroine, Lisbeth Salander, we have seen the birth of a global phenomenon that has spread across multiple media windows including literature, film and, most notably perhaps, television. Authors such as Jo Nesbo (The Snowman), Lars Kepler (The Hypnotist), Lotte and Søren Hammer (The Hanging) and more besides, regularly feature in book store charts and on internet shopping sites.  In the UK, BBC Four continue to champion the genre by airing The Killing, Borgen, and more recently, The Bridge alongside other series, such as Mammon and Arne Dahl. How can we begin to account for the popularity of the so-called Nordic Noir genre in the UK and beyond? How has this impacted other texts outside of the Scandinavian Peninsula? What can audiences and fan cultures teach us about this phenomenon? More simply, why Nordic Noir and why now?

The term itself, Nordic Noir, has also grown beyond its initial ambit to encompass multiple genres rather than restricted to crime or the police procedural. Arrow Films releases Scandinavian drama on the Nordic Noir label which includes crime, but also, other genres, such as history (Anno 1790), for instance. In this way, the genre has expanded in significant ways as a ‘cultural category’ that is discursively constructed rather than confined to a limited and finite designation. Following Jason Mittell, the Nordic Noir genre ‘operates in an ongoing historical process of category formation genres are constantly in flux, and thus their analyses must be historically situated’ (2004: xiv).

This collection aims to offer a varied range of perspectives on the Nordic Noir phenomenon and invites scholars to submit abstracts of 300 – 500 words. I am particularly interested in audiences and fan cultures, but other avenues of exploration may include (but not limited to):

  • Genre analysis.
  • History
  • Society and Culture.
  • Literature, Cinema, Television.
  • Non-Crime texts (such as Akta Manniskor or Anno 1790 and so forth).
  • Reception and Audiences.
  • Gender.
  • Sexuality.
  • Representation.
  • Influence and impact in other cultures.
  • The new wave of literature.
  • Industry.
  • Branding.

All proposals will be considered within the remit of Nordic Noir and its impact. Deadlines for abstracts: October 1st 2014. This will form part of the proposal to Edinburgh University Press who have expressed an interest in the project.

Abstracts to be forwarded to: billyproctor <at> hotmail.co.uk. Please send any queries, ideas etc to the same.

Some Criminally Good Scholarship

Infinite Earths, an online journal that unpacks popular culture in a variety of ways, has published a special issue on Nordic Noir and the Scandinavian Invasion, focused on the impact Nordic crime dramas has had on Anglophone culture and what makes Nordic noir tick. There are four articles in the issue:

My thanks to Brownen Thomas of the Digital Reading Network who pointed the issue out to me.

Second, Taylor & Francis, one of the giant commercial publishers of scholarly work provided freely by scholars in exchange for organizing the free labor of peer reviewing, adding some copyediting and layout, then distributing to the academic libraries that can afford it and who promise not to let it travel beyond the library’s digital walled garden, has given a collection of articles on crime fiction a temporary release. They will return to serve out their life sentence at the end of the year, so read them while you can.*

Routledge Crime Fiction Collection

Articles address craft, genre, gender, historical crime fiction, and world crime fiction. Though not focused on Scandinavia, it’s very interesting stuff. I was particularly blown away by Margie Orford’s essay, “The Grammar of Violence: Writing Crime as Fiction.

*Sorry if I sound ungrateful. but I get frustrated when all of this valuable work is generally available to so few in order to support T&F’s 35% profit margin.